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On exam day

It is the day you have been working for - and you are going to grab it with both hands.

Here's our ultimate check list to get you off to the best start.



The essentials:

Glucose: The brain draws nearly all its energy from glucose.
Fatty Acids: Such as omega-3 and omega-6 strengthens the synapses in your brain which help your memory.
Amino Acids: From protein-rich foods. They help connect the neurotransmitters which are essential for keeping you alert and boosts the memory.
Antioxidants: Like you find in tea or vegetables. It helps regulate the oxidative stress that destroys brain cells.

So what's on the menu?

- Granola, berries, banana and yoghurt.

- Pancakes with strawberries and banana.

- Boiled, fried or scrambled egg with cherry toms on toast.

- Nerves mean you can't stomach food?
Throw blueberries, strawberries, a banana and almond milk in the blender and enjoy a smoothie with ice cubes.


pencils stationary

The stationary:

It doesn't matter if you take too much - or if you get there and you're not allowed certain materials for certain exams.

You can always leave some of the items outside the exam hall in your bag - or pass the unauthorised items to an examiner.

You should have a sandwich bag or clear pencil case (graffiti free) to hold the stationary.

The check list:

- Pencil and pencil sharpener, and rubber.

- Pens - a blue and a black and a spare of each.

- Highlighters.

- Ruler.

- For maths based exams, a geometry set and scientific calculator.

- A bottle of water with no wrapper.


Cram, cram, cram.

Remember, you can take your revision notes right up to the door of the exam hall. 

Don't try to test yourself though.

Just read through them - even if it feels like it isn't going in. 

How to plan the notes:

- Keep it simple so you can scan over in the car, on the bus or outside the hall.

- Try a spider diagram or bullet points.

- Don't over complicate it. At this stage you only need a few prompt words to spark your memory.


Don't panic:

It is perfectly normal to feel a little heightened before you go into the exam hall, most people notice a slightly increased heart rate - this is just adrenaline. 

But if you suffer with anxiety or panic attacks there are some simple steps you can take to stay calm.

Whatever your state of preparation, your task now is to do your best.

 Top tips:

- Take deep breathes and picture a calm place, like a beach or a clear sky.

- When you sit down in the hall make yourself comfortable. Adjust clothing to suit your body temperature.

- Take in your surroundings - find a clock and arrange your desk space.

- Sit with your eyes closed for a while until the exam is ready to begin.


"...Pens down, your time is up."

Once the clock starts ticking you will be absorbed in the paper and time will fly by.

There are some key techniques to get you over this last hurdle.

And remember, you can only do your best.

In the exam:

- Read the instructions carefully.

- Make a plan. Jot down any key notes.

- Some find it handy to plan answers in the same format as their revision notes.

- Stick to your time per question.

- If you do, you should have some free when you finish the paper - read through everything thoroughly.

Leave the exam hall and pat yourself on the back.

Breakfast for the nervous stomach

Nutritional Therapist Pippa Mitchell, from Eat Well Nutrition in Surrey, has the recipe for the perfect exam day smoothie if your nerves are stopping you stomaching a hearty breakfast.


  • 1 glass of water or coconut water or milk of choice (eg dairy alternative)
  • A small handful of berries – pick one or a combination of raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries etc (you can use fresh or frozen)
  • ½ small avocado or ½  banana (banana adds more fructose)
  • 1 tbsp buckwheat flakes or oats soaked in water overnight (optional)
  • 2 tbsp of plain live yogurt eg Collective Dairy Straight Up or goats/sheeps yogurt (if you don’t eat dairy then you could use an alternative such as CoYo)
  • 1 dessertspoon of mixed seeds – milled seeds are available in most supermarkets or a tablespoon of ground almonds (provided there is no nut allergy).
  • 1 scoop unsweetened protein powder.


Whizz all the ingredients together in a blender to make a delicious and filling smoothie. Simple.



Pippa says: "This really is packed with nutrients: vitamin C, zinc, calcium, protein and live beneficial bacteria from the yogurt. 

"Adding buckwheat flakes or oats to your smoothie will make it more filling and you will have the benefit of lots of B vitamins which are great for your brain, hair and skin.

"The seeds add beneficial oils which help dry skin and hair. 

"Protein powder ups the protein content helping to keep you feeling full for longer.

"A pack of frozen mixed berries are useful to have in the freezer for this smoothie."


Deep down there's one fear which we all have in common...

"What if I need the toilet?"

Luckily, Lewis Mason is here to share his experience of the nervous bladder:


Wish someone good luck

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